After very early on setting the date for the gig and alerting
the entire world to the 6/28/97 event, in February or so, Alan
found out that a trip to Japan was in his future. It became apparent
that it had to happen immediately before the gig date. Much anxiety
and attempted shuffling of dates ensued. Well, nothing could be
moved. The Big Gig had to happen on 6/28 and Alan would just simply
have to bite the bullet and return from Kyoto, his Nihon-no furozato,
after a shorter than anticipated
stay in the Land of the Rising.
Then .... Kevin, who had left his job as Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for the County of Muskegon, in March was offered a job in, believe it or not, Saipan. He was to be there ready for work by June 1, 1997. Whoa. Well, much anxiety and attempted shuffling of dates ensued. We tried to get everyone together earlier, before Kevin was to leave. May was no good, most weekends in April were no good. After all, we had set in stone the date to be June for a reason. Then, for a fleeting moment we had a weekend in April. We were going to fly Pete out from New York, do the 10th Reunion and say so long to Kevin. But, since it was chancy, to say the least, to have an outdoor event in Michigan in April, many indoor venues were sought and tried but it was not to be.
Alan visited Kevin on April 12. He and the family are doing fine and looking forward to living in what some sources say is the most temperate climate in the world. The world! After Michigan and several years of lake effect snows, going to work in short sleeves everyday might attract anyone.
So, to make an excrutiatingly long story somewhat shorter, we decided to go back to having the reunion as planned. Kelly Schmidt would take over in the role of hot country swing guitarist. We still planned to play the Top of the Park on Friday, June 27, the day before the Gig.
There were a few practices during the month of May and early June. Alan left for Japan with his son on June 12. On June 21 or so, Pete came to town and practiced with the band, to whip them into shape. Alan remained unwhipped until his return from Japan on 6/26, when, now properly whipped, severe jet-lag prevented him from being aware of the Top of the Park event on June 27. The rest of the band assures him that it went well. Many, many thanks go to David Lutton for his support in getting that gig together.
The next morning, several folks convened at Jay's place to start the preparations for the big event. They built a stage, they put up the canopy, they laid out the food area. Don Balcolm from Arial Productions arrived at 2:00 pm to set up the sound. And a very good job he did on sound too.
The rest of the band arrived. Members of the audience arrived. The food arrived. Poof. A party ensued. After the first set by the new Country Volunteers, there came a set by Jay Stielstra and the MacDonald Bros. Another set by the Country Volunteers. All during this time we witnessed the usual kids at the pool, adults at the keg, and everyone sprawled out around the grounds.
Of course, we missed Kevin who is in Saipan, but Kelly did a magnificent job. Pete had driven out from New York. The rest of the gang was the same: Michael, Gary, Hugh, and Alan. Some people actually said we sounded okay and everyone seemed to have a good time at both musical events. They might just be being kind, but it works for us.
Thanks, as always, go to Jay Stielstra.
Later, on July 19, as a 5-piece band (without the titilating keyboard ticklings of Pete Falkenstein), we played the Thompson and Liberty stage during the famous Summer Ann Arbor Art Wars.
We actually had three gigs in one year !!!!!
(I remember times when I had three gigs in one day!)